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April 25, 2014 ..:: Overnight Trails ... Fanie Botha Trail ::.. Register  Login
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 The Fanie Botha hiking Trail

Where is it?


How to get there


General Information


Main Attractions


History


Trail Options

 

Rates

 

Where is it?

The Fanie Botha Hiking Trail is situated in the Sabie area in Mpumalanga.

How to get there

From Gauteng, take the N4 to Mpumalanga and turn off to Sabie at the R539 (or alternatively drive via Schoemanskloof). Another option is to drive to Belfast via Lydenburg. From Lydenburg take the Long Tom Pass to Sabie. From Sabie, follow the signposts in the direction of Graskop. On the Graskop Road, 15 km from Sabie, is the Mac Mac Forest Station.

General Information

This trail has three different starting points, namely at the Ceylon, President Burger or Graskop Huts.

There are six different huts on this hiking trail:

  • Ceylon
  • Maritzbos
  • Stables
  • Mac Mac
  • Graskop
  • President Burger

Each of these huts has 24 bunk beds. All the huts have an under-cover braai area with a grid. Firewood is available at the huts. All the huts have a toilet. The Mac Mac Hut is the only hut that does not have a shower.

For the five-night trail, transport arrangements are necessary. Parking for the Ceylon Hut is available at the Ceylon Hut – where there is a caretaker. Hikers staying at the President Burger Hut can park their cars inside the Mac Mac Forest Retreat.

Main Attractions
  • Beautiful scenery. To really appreciate the beauty of this region, visit the Mac Mac Pools and Falls, Mount Moodie and the Lone Creek Falls. Both the Mac Mac Falls and Lone Creek Falls are national monuments.
  • Birds. Along the stony sites you may find rock kestrel, black eagle, jackal buzzard, rock pigeon, little swift, lesser striped swallow, Cape rock thrush and redwinged starling. In the grassy fields there are Swainson's francolin, helmeted guineafowl, brownhooded kingfisher, whitenecked raven, fiscal shrike, redcollared widow and bronze manikin. The plantations host hadeda ibis, diederik cuckoo and rameron pigeon, while in the indigenous forest and gorges one can find the Knysna lourie, redchested cuckoo, somber bulbul, chorister robin, paradise flycatcher, malachite sunbird and the scarletchested sunbird. Along or near watercourses blue cranes, rock martins, longtailed wagtails, Cape wagtails, masked weavers and red bishops may be found.
  • Butterflies and moths. The brightly coloured green and red larvae of the pine emperor moth are often visible on the pine needles in the plantations.
  • A wide variety of amphibians and reptiles.
  • Mammals. Oribi, grey caracal, rhebuck and klipspringer (especially at Hartebeesvlakte), bushbuck and duiker (in the forests and plantations). Wild animals that are present but very seldom seen include leopard, black-backed jackal, serval, civet, otter, porcupine, badger and mongoose. Other animals include baboon, monkey and hyrax.
History

The stone implements from the Middle Stone Age indicate that primeval people  once lived in this area. It is also accepted that Bushmen once lived here, as Bushman paintings and implements have been found in some of the caves. After the Bushmen, scattered Bantu tribes lived in the area until the Swazis and Zulus drove them into the kloofs and caves where they went into hiding. Only when a negotiable route to the harbour at Delagoa Bay was sought, did white people appear.

The discovery of gold was one of the most important developments in this area. A German teacher, Karl Gottlieb Mauch, was the first to predict gold in the valleys. He was so convincing that four men began searching for and discovered gold in the Spekboom River in 1869.In 1873, the magistrate of Lydenburg announced to the Transvaal Volksraad that gold had been discovered there. (Lydenberg was founded by followers of the Voortrekker leader, Andries Hendrik Potgieter). At Spitskop, on the farm Geelhoutboom, more gold was found. At the time there were no mining laws so the magistrate appointed Major W. MacDonald as registrar of claims. This was the beginning of the gold rush.

In 1903, one of the larger mining companies, the Transvaal Gold Mining Estates, was formed. The founders realised that timber from the indigenous forests was becoming scarce and established the first wattle and eucalyptus plantations in 1903. The planting of pines followed and state plantations were established at Mac Mac, Ceylon, Tweefontein and Blyde. The patches of indigenous forest that occurred in places provided the miners with building timber and wood for furniture, wagons and mining operations. However, bare patches began to appear on the mountain slopes and valleys near the mining camps where the miners collected firewood. Plantations were originally established by the mining company to supply the immediate need for mining timber.

Trail Options

The Fanie Botha Hiking Trail has the following trail options:

2 Night Options

  3 Night Options

 4 Night Options

 5 Night Options

 

2 Night Options

Mac Mac 2 night trail

Parking:

Park at the Pres. Burger hut and start hiking immediately to Mac Mac hut

Distances:

  • Pres. Burger - Mac Mac - 6m
  • Mac Mac - Graskop - 13.6km
  • Graskop - Pres. Burger - 23km  (via the Mac Mac Pools and Falls)

Difficulty:

Moderate to difficult

Graskop 2 night trail

Parking:

Park at the Graskop hut

Distances:

  • Graskop to Pres. Burger - 23km (via the Mac Mac Pools and Falls)
  • Pres. Burger to Graskop - 13.6km

Difficulty:

Moderate to difficult

 

Hartbeesvlakte 2 night trail

Parking:

Park at the Ceylon hut and strat hiking to Mariztbos hut

Distances:

  • Ceylon to Martizbos - 8.7km
  • Martizbos to Stables - 13.3km
  • Stables to Ceylon plantation

Difficulty:

Easy

 

Pres. Burger 2 night trail

Parking:

Park at the Pres. Burger hut

Distances:

  • Pres. Burger hut to Graskop - 19.6km
  • Graskop to Pres. Burger - 23km (via the Mac Mac Pools and Falls)

Difficulty:

Moderate to difficult

 

Bonnett / Mac Mac 2 night trail

Parking:

Park at the Graskop hut

Distances:

  • Graskop to Mac Mac - 23km (via the Mac Mac Pools and Falls)
  • Mac Mac to Graskop - 13.6km

Difficulty:

Moderate to difficult

 

Maritzbos 2 night trail

Parking:

Park at the Ceylon hut

Distances:

  • Ceylon to Maritzbos - 8.7km
  • Maritzbos to Ceylon - 9km

Difficulty:

Easy

 

 3 Night Options

 Pres. Burger 3 night trail

Parking:

Park at the Pres. Burger hut

Distances:

  • Pres. Burger to Graskop - 19.6km
  • Graskop to Mac Mac - 23km (via the Mac Mac Pools and Falls)
  • Mac Mac - Pres. Burger - 6km

Difficulty:

Moderate to difficult

 

Lone Creek 3 night trail

Parking:

Park at the Ceylon hut and start hiking immediately to Maritzbos hut

Distances:

  • Ceylon to Maritzbos - 8.7km
  • Martizbos to Stables - 13.3km
  • Stables - Mac Mac - 22.3km

Difficulty:

Moderate

  

Hartbeesvlakte 3 night trail

Parking:

Park at the Ceylon hut and start hiking to Maritzbos

Distances:

  • Ceylon to Maritzbos - 8.7km
  • Martizbos to Stables - 13.3km
  • Stables - Ceylon - 8.5km

Difficulty:

Moderate

 

Maritzbos 3 night trail

Parking:

Park at the Ceylon hut

Distances:

  • Ceylon to Maritzbos - 8.7km
  • Martizbos to Stables - 13.3km
  • Stables - Ceylon - 8.5km

Difficulty:

Moderate

 

Mac Mac 3 night trail

Parking:

Park at the Pres. Burger hut and start hiking to Mac Mac hut

Distances:

  • Pres. Burger to Mac Mac - 6km
  • Mac Mac to Graskop - 13.6km
  • Graskop to Pres. Burger - 23km (via the Mac Mac Pools and Falls)

Difficulty:

Moderate - difficult

 

 4 Night Options

 Ceylon 4 night trail

Parking:

Park at the Ceylon hut

Distances:

  • Ceylon to Stables - 22km
  • Stables to Mac Mac - 16.3km
  • Mac Mac to Graskop hut - 13.6km
  • Graksop to Pres. Burger - 23km (via the Mac Mac Pools and Falls)

Difficulty:

Difficult

 

Maritzbos 4 night trail

Parking:

Park at the Ceylon hut

Distances:

  • Ceylon to Maritzbos - 8.7km 
  • Maritzbos to Stables - 13.3km
  • Stables to Ceylon - 8.5km

Difficulty:

Moderate

 

Mount Moodie 4 night trail

 

Parking:

Park at the Ceylon hut and start hiking to Maritzbos hut

Distances:

  • Ceylon to Maritzbos - 8.7km 
  • Maritzbos to Stables - 13.3km
  • Stables to Mac Mac - 16.3km
  • Mac Mac to Graskop - 13.6km

Difficulty:

Moderate to difficult

 

5 Night Options 

Pres. Burger 5 night trail

 

Parking:

Park at the Ceylon hut

Distances:

  • Ceylon to Maritzbos - 8.7km 
  • Maritzbos to Stables - 13.3km
  • Stables to Mac Mac - 16.3km
  • Mac Mac to Pres. Burger - 6km 

Difficulty:

Dfficult

 

Graskop 5 night trail

 

Parking:

Park at the Ceylon hut

Distances:

  • Ceylon to Maritzbos - 8.7km 
  • Maritzbos to Stables - 13.3km
  • Stables to Mac Mac - 16.3km
  • Mac Mac to Graskop - 13.6km

Difficulty:

Dfficult

 

Rates

R105.00 per person per night

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